“Good Manners are for everyone. It’s a democratic thing.” says Liz Wyse.

Liz Wyse

I am talking to Liz Wyse, the leading British authority on good manners and etiquette. She is the Head of Publishing at Debrett’s. She is an editor and writer who has authored and created numerous books for Debrett’s, including A-Z of Modern Manners and The Queen: The Diamond Jubilee.

She also worked on numerous non-fiction illustrated books on many occasions, such as the Guinness Book of Records and The Times Atlas of World History. One of her latest creations is Debrett’s first Etiquette Guide for Hybrid Work. The Guide is concerned with a novel topic that came to life in our times, and it makes history for Debrett’s.

             The Etiquette Guide for Hybrid Work

Debrett’s, whose offices are based in Weybridge, is an establishment dating back to 1769 and is named after its founder John Debrett. It is a chronicle and record-keeper of Britain’s titled aristocracy, and was also an adjudicator of People of Today, singling out and crediting outstanding professional achievements and success in all walks of British society. It is also an authority widely recognized on British manners and etiquette. Debrett advises on all matters relating to protocol, precedence, etiquette, and behaviour. It assists in building skills and social confidence both in person and via online coaching and through books on good manners and etiquette. Additionally, it makes an online subscription service available to the general public and offers access to the most treasured British chronicles


Having the opportunity, I asked Liz Wyse general questions about good manners.

What are good manners?

Good manners are nothing more than having a general awareness of other people, being observant, being empathetic, looking around you, and always being conscious of the impact that you have on the world around you and on the people, you’re interacting with. The good manners part of that is ensuring that the impact is always as pleasant and positive as possible. I think people get very knotted up with the idea of etiquette and manners, such as which fork to use and where to put my napkin. What do I do if I meet the Duchess and all this type of thing. All of these things are codified and are traditional knowledge which Debrett’s does deal with, but the emphasis these days is more on looking at modern life and all the dilemmas of modern life and the situations that we find ourselves in, like with mobile phones for example, and trying to come up with sensible advice for the best way of handling new challenges.

Are good manners and etiquette the same thing?

Well, I think they are not entirely. I think people do tend to use it interchangeably, but I would argue that etiquette is more of an old-fashioned term for more traditional notions of what is proper behaviour, whereas good manners are a much more universal term that encompasses just generally interacting in a civilized and positive way with other people.

Why do you think we have the rules of good manners?

Good manners are very important when it comes to oiling the wheels of society. So, I think if you’ve got good manners, it means that you could put people at ease, that you’re indispensable in social situations, you know how to make small talk, and you know how to introduce people to each other. If you’ve got good manners, you’re generally likely to be a very good host or hostess. You’re going to be a person who’s popular socially. You’re going to succeed in life. Good manners are also important in the professional world as well. So, I think they’re universally important and it’s a win-win situation. If you have good manners, people will respect you and like you more.

Where do good manners originate?

I suppose they have evolved. In some ways, this has been the history of Debrett’s too. They have a role from an era when society was more stratified, and the royal family, the nobility, and the ecclesiastical people were at the top. People who had high status in society differentiated themselves from everyone else by refining their behaviour to be more elegant and rarefied. This was a way of asserting social difference and saying, “I’m a member of the aristocracy, and my manners proclaim my pedigree.” I think that’s probably how they originated. But of course, society has evolved. That’s not really how they are now perceived. Good manners aren’t seen purely as assets of people who are the leaders of society.

So, I think everything has changed over the last few centuries. But I expect that if you were talking about the origin of good manners, you would probably go back to the Middle Ages and chivalry in medieval times.

Only recently I found out about a philosopher in ancient Egypt named Ptahhotep who in the late 25th century BC and early 24th century BC presented, the ‘First Code of Conduct’ in his book ‘The Maxims of Ptahhotep’ and explained the reasons why people should follow manners. One of his very famous quotes was that “the stability of civilization and domestic home life depends upon justice”.*1 So, already then, the motives for good manners were very deeply rooted.

and I’m sure manners were important in ancient Greece and ancient Rome too.

It’s quite amazing to imagine and find out that all those years ago people were so conscious of those issues as well.                                                                                                                                                                         

It’s certainly true that for a long period, they were a way of defining people’s status. Their manners were an indicator of social status.

Would you agree that many of these rules naturally exist in life? They are rooted and derived from the natural world of beauty, kindness, grace, ethics, and aesthetics. We only discover them and then choose the best way we like how people act and behave. I’m just trying to establish that good manners exist in life anyway and that we’ve got all this within us, and we make the best choices and then follow them for generations to come. I imagine that at some stage somebody did something very gracefully and it was an example to other people, and then someone decided this is a good way of doing it and proposed let’s follow it.

I’m sure that’s right. I’m sure several centuries ago, people were all sitting around the table eating with their hands and chewing with their mouths open, and somebody else ate very delicately and looked very elegantly. And they thought that’s the way to do it. And that’s how everything begins to evolve.

Do you think the origins were rooted in the real world?

What then happens is that, at certain points in history, like in the Court of Louis the 14th, the etiquette and the protocol and the ways in which people were segregated were based on their behaviour. Their mode of address, the depth of that curtsy, the depth of that bow, all of these things became more and more complex to the point where the court was almost paralyzed by its own sense of etiquette and good behaviour. So, I think that you’re right. They do originate in probably perfectly common sense and natural human behaviour. But then at various points, they were refined to a point where they’re artificial and they created artificial distinctions, and they created behaviour which was quite peculiar at times historically.

Good manners are for example, to be kind to others, but do they help us to assert ourselves?

I think they do. They help us to assert ourselves in a very effective way. These days a lot of people think that assertiveness is about being bold, confident, and assertive, but I think people who have good manners are often much more effective at getting their point of view across because they listen. Let’s say that somebody with good manners is having an argument or a disagreement with somebody, then part of the way in which they interact is to listen to the person they’re arguing with. They pay attention to them. They address the points they’re making and then politely put their point of view across. And that, is a much more effective way of asserting yourself and making your views felt, than just simply weighing in there and letting rip and shouting. So yes, I do think good manners are effective in all sorts of contexts.

Would you say that good manners represent a standard of life? By breaking their rules, we lower our standards.

Do you think there are situations in which we have to skip good manners and do so in a way that avoids dropping our standards? Would you say that once someone is good-mannered, they are always good-mannered?

Yes, I would. These days good manners are not the sort of complicated codes of behaviour that we suffered from a century ago. They are just a way of interacting with people which, is kind, attentive, and involves being aware of people and all the rest of it. And that’s a universal that permeates all aspects of your life. Once you start acting like that, it’s going to cut across all your fields of interaction.

Do you think they should be included in the Curriculum for children and teenagers?

Yes, I do, and I know that it is happening. It’s not a part of the national curriculum at the moment, but I think some private schools are certainly addressing this issue by including classes on manners. Debrett’s, in response, started coaching small children. I think if you’re in a situation where you feel that good manners are not inevitably being handed down by parents, then yes, it’s a good idea to redress that by including it on some level in the school curriculum because I think good manners are only beneficial. And if a child has got them, it’s definitely going to help in terms of their career and their advancement in grown-up life.

Are we more vulnerable by entering the world of good manners as some people might deliberately break them, and we could feel hurt or agitated by that?

If you hold yourself and other people to a certain standard of behaviour, then you find that people break that and offend you.

Does observing good manners make us stronger or are we more vulnerable by being polite?

That’s a tricky question, I think, because it’s to some extent down to the individual. I think some people find good manners to be a very useful shield that they just retreat behind. They’re relentlessly polite no matter what life throws at them, and they find that a very useful and effective defence. And I think that if people can do it, it’s a very good way of dealing with all the things other people throw at you. Obviously, there are some people who can’t do that. I think it’s difficult to make a generalization about that.

Do they help us to argue less with other people?

I think manners smooths everything and it’s likely to make interactions more harmonious. I won’t say you won’t argue, but you will argue less.

Do you think observing good manners by politicians, diplomats and people of that rank can help to elevate their negotiating skills and, therefore play an important part in avoiding international conflicts and maybe wars and destruction?

Yes, if only. But I do think that the most effective politicians are the ones who have good manners and who are able to control their anger or irritation, who are able to interact with other people in a positive, constructive way. I think it’s a very important skill. And of course, unfortunately in our system in the House of Commons, for example, it’s a very adversarial means of interacting. And sometimes manners do fly out of the window, but I think that the most effective cases the politicians make are often the ones that they make with calmness and politeness.

Would you say that if everyone around the world tried to observe good manners, it could help to fight climate change?

It’s a little bit of a stretch. In some respects, good manners are about consideration, about being considerate of other people. So, you could say it’s about being considerate of the planet too. Your own habits, whether that’s to do with driving when you should be walking, or not recycling when you should be. In some ways, these are standards of behaviour, whether they’re manners, I’m not sure. So yes, I think that’s a tricky one.

But on some occasions, it could be linked to manners. Like, for instance, people dropping litter.

That’s clearly very bad manners, and it’s inconsiderate if you don’t put your recycling in the right bin. There are eco manners nowadays, which is kind of a norm that we are all meant to comply with. You can be eco-shamed, I suppose, if you are a horrible litter lout or you don’t put your recycling out.

Finally, I’d like to ask this question. After many years of living in England, I want to find out whether it is an English manner to lick your fingers after dinner, even if it is only done when dining at home and even when it is done very gracefully?                                                                                                                                                                                        

No, I don’t think that is an English manner. I think table manners are changing a lot and becoming much looser. But conventionally, that wasn’t considered to be good manners though. The convention was always there; the only thing that should go in your mouth was your cutlery, not your fingers. A fork or a spoon, not your fingers.

Photo Valery Sidelynkov

In Poland, where I grew up, it’s definitely a no-no. That’s why I could never understand why people are doing it here.

It is a no-no here. Table manners are getting more slapdash these days, so you might be seeing people doing this. Table manners are for a good reason. I mean, hygiene, yes, but also the whole notion of English table manners is that we should not appear to be greedy and should never be greedy. Not to be kind of relishing, you’re meant to be a little bit more restrained. I’m sorry you are seeing English people doing that. That’s not right.

On behalf of the readers, viewers and myself, I would like to thank you for being an exceptional and recognised expert in the field of good manners and etiquette. I would like to thank you for helping, guiding, and reminding us about keeping our standards in this fast-paced world. Liz, thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

I enjoyed that very much.

  1. An Ancient African Wisdom Book: Commentary on the Instruction of Ptahhotep” by Angela Chamblee ↩︎
Reading time: 14 min

‘You are Noah!’ says The Noah’s Ark Foundation to all of us, ‘be one of many who will stop the extinction of wildlife, everywhere’. ‘It Takes the World to Make a Miracle’ is one of their songs. And ‘I am Noah’ will be the chorus at benefit concerts. Everyone can join in, everyone already involved in saving endangered species can join in, anyone passionate about nature’s beauty or who is touched by its healing powers can join in, whoever listens to cleaning the air we breathe or stopping climate change can join in. Absolutely everyone everywhere should join in. We should all be Noah.

Being Noah means supporting space for wildlife, space that is safe from urban and agricultural sprawl, space that is free of poachers and deforestation, space as a sanctuary while the world’s natural habitats are threatened. That space can be rewilded farmland, woodlands or even nonarable land, whether at home or abroad, and much is being done in that cause.

Except, the rate of extinction is already so vast across the planet that it cannot possibly be checked alone by pockets of change here and there, not in time to make a real difference. Action is needed collectively, on a grander international level. Until then, until that happens, we need to make a start with endangered species, wherever they are, pan-globally, and keep them safe from extinction, right NOW.

The Noah’s Ark Foundation has that vision, to build a high security park (like Jurassic Park) with open spaces and domes (like the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK) for replicating major foreign climates.

The intent is to create spaces for species from across the world and keep them safe until, sometime in the future, they can be reintroduced to their own homelands. That vision is the Noah’s Ark conservation park, the brainchild of founders Richard and Hein Prinsloo-Curson.

More than a park, with wild animals and plants from across the world to see, there will also be research laboratories, the world’s first eDNA bank for endangered animals, museum displays, an international convention centre, entertainment areas and an entire hospitality area including hotels, restaurants, food courts and cafeterias as well as training, health and emergency facilities. The aim is to build an icon, one that can be admired by all conservationists and especially by wildlife enthusiasts. A thing of beauty and of true meaning for generations to come.

Even before construction starts, the park will be visible to millions of viewers – with a 27-episode TV series following the life drama of bringing it all about. The series will first be aired coast-to-coast in the USA and subsequently on channels in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. The series will reach a weekly audience of over 1 million in the USA and 1 million in the UK and internationally, with views of the ideal family holiday destination.

Noah’s Ark TV Series 1, aired on Sky TV in 2021, was the pilot for the full series. Books will also follow the park coming into being, commenced by You are Noah! Introduction already published. TV and radio interviews are also planned, as was the case on Kay Burley and Good Morning Britain with Series 1.

Music singles have also been released. More will follow, by popular stars – it’s yet to be announced who those will be. All of the songs will be on saving wildlife from extinction and on Noah’s Ark’s part in all of that. Celebrities will take part, as will well known conservationists, some of them having a book published on their role in this fascinating story.

This will be a lead up to a series of all-star benefit concerts, beginning possibly with the Wembley Stadium, London, UK, again featuring Noah’s Ark’s leading role in wildlife conservation. The aim is to beat the best of the best in benefit concerts, which – would you agree? – was Live Aid in 1985.

And, finally, as you are sure to be asking, where is the Noah’s Ark conservation park to be built, and when? Well, that is a burning question, soon to be answered. The guys at The Noah’s Ark Foundation are busy on that, with governments, funders, designers and management companies. For now, what we can say, is that it will be in Africa.

Meanwhile, when will music labels and books come out? Well, the guys are really busy there, with TV producers, record companies, distributors. The first book You are Noah! Introduction, which introduces the whole programme far better, is available now along with Noah’s Ark TV Series 1 free to watch. More music singles, TV episodes and books will come out through 2024

GB Publishing link:https://www.gbpublishing.co.uk/product-page/you-are-noah

GB Publishing Org https://www.gbpublishing.co.uk/charities

Noah’s Ark Foundation link https://noahsark.life/invest-in-noahs-ark-foundation/

Reading time: 4 min

 SIMVIC is a company that buys and processes scrap metal. It is located at Unit 4, Fordwater Trading Estate, Ford Road, Chertsey, KT16 8HG. The founders of the company are Radek Arasniewicz and his brother-in-law Darek Arasniewicz. They both come from Poland originally. 

The beginnings of the company are humble. It started in 2008 when they came to England. In the beginning, both were driving the only van they had to collect scrap metal. Their experience with scrap metal comes from Poland, where they had already established a similar business. At first, they drove around London to collect scrap and took it from there to Peterborough and then back to London again. The business grew slowly, soon they bought more vans and rented their own site in West Drayton. Here they stored the scrap metal and used the space to treat it. In those days, the price of scrap metal was better than it is today. An accountant helped them in administrative matters. After some time, they had to leave the West Drayton location and find a new home for their business. In 2011 they found land here in Chertsey, which they rented until 2022, and then they bought it. The company employs about twenty permanent employees and a few office workers. The company’s offices are very well organized and use the latest technology.                                                                              

I am talking to Radek Arasniewicz, one of the owners and a director of the company. His wife and daughter live in Poland, and he swaps places on a monthly basis with Darek, his brother-in-law and business partner. So, he spends one month at the company in Chertsey, and then travels to stay with his family in Poland and also takes care of the company in Poland for a month.  At that time Darek comes to England and runs the company here. This exchange takes place every month.  

How big is the area of your company? 

To put it literally, I would say, the area is about the same size as a football field.

How did you get involved in the scrap metal business? 

It just happened. I suppose that one of the reasons was, that we had already established the same business in Poland. In Poland, it is more focused on the purchase of steel, so the process of the business is different.

What kind of scrap do you collect?

Here in England, we collect and buy copper, aluminium, bronze, cars for scrap, cables, steel, brass, lead. In fact, we buy all ferrous and non-ferrous metals.                                                                     

Who is your main supplier of industrial scrap?

Our regular suppliers of scrap are demolition companies as well as garbage collection companies, like B&K or PM Skips, which operate locally. Nevertheless, finding new suppliers is a constant endeavour. We advertise a lot on the Internet for this.

What is the procedure for collecting scrap metal in your company?

We currently have three trucks and ten vans. We drive them to our suppliers, where the goods are loaded. This is often done with the help of special cranes or forklifts. Depending on the circumstances, we work together with suppliers when loading trucks. We all try to make it as smooth a process as possible.

Do you have private scrap suppliers?

We have a lot of private professional suppliers like plumbers or electricians, and we strongly encourage the local community to come and sell us their accumulated scrap metal too.

Can people like me, private individuals, come to you and deliver their scrap metal? For example, an old washing machine or an old car?

Of course! however, we buy everything as scrap. Therefore, the prices are the same as that for scrap metal.

 How much can one get for an old washing machine or an old car?

Probably around £5 for an old washing machine, and around £150 for a small old car

Is finding new scrap metal suppliers and buyers easy?

It is not easy, there are many companies in this sphere. It all depends on the right price. You have to be very sensitive to the market and be able to set the best prices for the materials you buy or sell. I do all the pricing. Our prices are always listed on our website. In fact, the success of this business lies in the ability to give and get the right price. This is a very fluid business and both the prices and the demand for different types of material are constantly changing. For example, China needs copper, but in the summer season due to floods out there, China stops its operations and does not need as much copper. This, in turn, affects the price of copper and the price decreases due to the lack of demand for it. 

Please describe the metal recycling process in your company.

80% of the material delivered to us is physically examined. The materials need to be properly prepared, sorted and cleaned. We have many machines for this purpose. Some machines separate metal from plastic, and then the plastic is turned into granules that can be also, like metal, reused again. Other machines cut the metal into smaller pieces.                                                                                        

We also sell used parts from BMW and Mercedes. This aspect plays a significant role in our business operations. The parts can be bought directly from us, or we sell them on eBay. 

Do you trade internationally?

Yes, we do, nevertheless, most of our trade takes place in England, some 80% you could say. The

English companies we trade with are such as Tandom, SIMS Metal, EMR, Crow Metal, ROBA Scrap Metal, City Metal and many others. The remaining 20% we mainly operate in Poland. For example, we supply recycled derived copper to the world-renowned company KGHM, known as a major international producer of copper and silver. The head office of KGHM is in Lublin.

Which metal is in greatest demand?  

It depends on the season and prices, and it often changes.

Which metal is the most expensive? 

Copper is the most expensive.

Would you agree with my statement that scrap metal is no longer just scrap as most of this scrap material can be recycled, the people who sell scrap metal earn money for it and the scrap metal gets a second life?

That is right. Scrap can be recycled, and you can earn money from its sale.

How does metal recycling protect the environment?

Collecting and recycling scrap protects the environment from pollution, as it is not sent to landfills. We also save the Earth’s natural resources.

What do you like to do when you’re not working? I understand you work very hard.

I like cycling, swimming and boxing.

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?

I really like going to Norway. It’s quiet, peaceful and very beautiful there. 

Radek, I really appreciate and thank you for your initiative to create a company that is needed so much nowadays, as well as for your hard work and dedication to this work. I would also like to thank your whole team for their hard work and enthusiasm.   

                                                                                                                                               Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.  


Reading time: 8 min
Janet McDonagh ‘Our Purple Rose’
Janet McDonagh ‘Racing in the Snow’
Una Lisa ‘Musician Prince’ 2023
Certificate awarded to Una Lisa, Weybridge Art Festival 2023′
Una Lisa ‘Emili (Meditation)
‘Touch Me’ Exhibition London 2021
Painting Exhibition at the Oatlands Park Hotel, June 2023
Reading time: 1 min
Be Happy to listen click on the image

Reading time: 1 min

The Eco Park on Charlton Lane Shepperton is providing the next generation of household and business waste treatment facilities for the county of Surrey. The innovative facilities produce electricity for the national grid and fertiliser for use in farming. It is run by the waste management company SUEZ (formerly known as SITA), on behalf of Surrey County Council, and is now fully operational, offering both anaerobic digestion (AD) and gasification as well as a Community Recycling Centre.

I am talking to Kacie Thompson, a communications manager who joined SUEZ in 2017. Kacie is from the United States but moved to Surrey in 2016 and is now happily settled in South London. She has an MSc in Corporate Environmental Management from the University of Surrey.

The Eco Park, Charlton Lane, Shepperton
Model of the whole site of the Eco Park

Could you please explain the terms gasification and anaerobic digestion?

Gasification is used to process non-recyclable ‘black bag’ waste and turn it into energy. The gasification facility at the Eco Park is designed to treat up to 55,000 tonnes of black bag waste each year, mostly from homes in Spelthorne, Runnymede and Elmbridge. The waste first goes through a screening process to pull out metals for recycling and remove any oversized waste and inert materials like brick or concrete. The remaining waste is shredded to create Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) which is then fed into the gasification chamber. At the bottom of the chamber is a fluidised bed of sand which is heated over 700 degrees Celsius with reduced oxygen levels. The waste is broken down in the fluidised sand bed, creating a synthetic gas which rises to the top of the chamber. At the top of the chamber, the air is added to the gas and then ignited. The heat from igniting the gas is used to produce steam that then drives a turbine to generate electricity.

At the end of the process, the gases are cleaned and filtered before being released through the chimney on site. We continually monitor emissions to make sure they are kept within strict permitted levels. The ash produced from the process is currently sent to a landfill, but we hope that in future it may be able to be used as an aggregate in construction.

On the other hand, anaerobic digestion is a process that uses microorganisms to break down biodegradable material, in this case, food waste, in the absence of oxygen. At the Eco Park, food waste goes through a pre-treatment process to remove any unsuitable items (like plastic bags) and shred the waste into small pieces. Water is then added to the food waste and the mixture is fed into a series of tanks containing microorganisms that break it down in the absence of oxygen, producing biogas that is used to generate electricity. After the biogas is removed, excess water is removed to create a compost-like material called digestate that can be used on farmland to improve soil nutrition.

Would you say that the Eco Park is a power station?

That is how we like to think about it. It is a power station producing electricity, but the fuel used comprises non-recyclable materials and food waste. We are subject to strict emissions controls and the gases produced from both processes are monitored and cleaned before they are released via the chimney.

The benefit of having the plant here is that local residential waste can be used to generate enough electricity to power over 4,000 homes, which is an area approximately equal to the size of Shepperton. Also, refuse trucks from Elmbridge, Runnymede and Spelthorne do not need to travel far, which cuts down on emissions. 

We could say that the treatment of local household waste at the Eco Park is helping to make the community more self-sufficient in terms of waste management, whilst also contributing to energy security. In 2022:

  • *The Eco Park generated a total of 25.4 GWh of electricity – 16.2 from the gasifier and 9.2 from the anaerobic digestion facility
  • Of the total electricity generated, 15.9 GWh was exported to the grid
  • The facility exported enough electricity to power 4,262 homes for the entire year, more than all the homes in Shepperton
  • 44,035 tonnes of non-recyclable black bag waste processed
  • 25,226 tonnes of food waste processed
  • 4,164 tonnes of digestate produced, sent to be used as a soil improver in agriculture

**Between 2021 and 2022, 52,561 tonnes of household waste was collected in Elmbridge (from kerbside and bring banks), out of which 26,944 tonnes were sent for recycling, reuse, or composting. This represents a recycling rate of 51.3%. There are 136,795 people living in Elmbridge (according to 20192020 statistics), and we generated 441.8kg of waste per person during the period 20202021.

What residents can bring to the recycling centre:                                                                                            


Do you think we as consumers could take more responsibility for the waste we generate?

The main thing we try to encourage people to do is to really think about how items could be reused, for instance by passing them on to someone else. We would love to see the residents reduce waste by re-using and repairing more of their items rather than disposing of them.

What about the items we put into our bins?

One of the biggest problems we currently have is that lots of people put batteries (which need to be recycled in a special way) into their household waste bins. Some still have use in them and can be a fire risk if not properly disposed of, causing a safety concern for staff and visitors on waste sites and risking damage to important infrastructure. This is a problem nation-wide, and it is something we would like Surrey residents to be more aware of. If they are throwing away something that has batteries in it, they should be removed before putting the item in the appropriate bin. Batteries can be safely and separately recycled at your local community recycling centre or in a supermarket, where there are often dedicated battery collection points.

Batteries collection point in Waitrose, Weybridge
Batteries collection point in Morrison, Weybridge

For instance, in Weybridge, Waitrose has a collection point at customer services, and there is one in Morrisons (in the downstairs hall next to the escalator). Also, printing cartridges and cooking oil can be brought to the recycling centre in Charlton Lane, Shepperton. When it comes to collecting food waste, you can line your caddy with any type of plastic bag, e.g., old shopping bag or specially purchased plastic bags on the roll. ***

Surrey Environment Partnership – Food waste recycling (surreyep.org.uk)

Another issue is the contamination of recycling bins. Some residents put food-soiled items like pizza boxes or used kitchen roll in their recycling bins, but this kind of content cannot be recycled because soiled paper and cardboard will reduce the quality of paper products created from the recycled material. Such items should therefore be considered non-recyclable. The content of the recycling bins should be kept as dry as possible and clean from food contamination.

We as consumers often feel we cannot help generating so much waste. In an ideal world, if we managed to minimise our general and food waste, replace plastic bottles with refillable glass bottles, cut down on packaging, and use only natural fabrics, would it put companies like SUEZ out of work?

Absolutely not. At SUEZ, we focus on waste prevention and elimination and moving materials up the waste hierarchy. To reduce volumes of non-recyclable waste, we will have to recycle more and more, so we will still have a role to play in processing items for recycling and making sure we make the most out of our resources. And there will always be food waste to deal with, so anaerobic digestion facilities.

Do you think there is a conflict of interest between us the consumers and the waste management companies and experts?

Our goal is always to minimise waste and move materials up the waste hierarchy, so no, I don’t think so. If we take paint waste as an example. Paint used to be something that could not be recycled, but we designed a solution that helped prevent waste, reduced disposal costs for the council and raised money for charity. We opened a reuse shop where tins containing a certain amount of paint could be put aside and resold for a suggested donation to Macmillan Cancer Support. Also, new legislation and policy reforms are being introduced that will transform the waste industry and drive recycling rates. Extended Producer Responsibility will require manufacturers to take more responsibility for their packaging waste, incentivising them to change to more environmentally friendly packaging and ensuring the price of the product reflects the environmental cost of end-of-life disposal. Alongside this, there is a new policy coming into effect that will mandate separate food waste collections from all households and businesses, making anaerobic digestion facilities like we have at the Eco Park even more important. These policy changes will be a big transition in the industry and waste and recycling experts have an important role to play in implementing these changes.

SUEZ has adopted a zero waste and circular economy strategy.

I understand that SUEZ participates in charity events. Could you tell us more about them?

At a national level, we have partnered with Macmillan Cancer Support, and we have raised over £500,000 as one of their UK corporate partners.

In Surrey, ten percent of profits from our five reuse shops (nearly £60,000 to date) is donated to various local charities each year. We have supported a huge number of local charities over the years, including the Woking & Sam Beare Hospice and the Princess Alice Hospice. We are about to launch a new community fund for Surrey charities that will use the profits that we make through the reuse shops to provide grants of up to £10,000 for bigger charitable projects that address community and environmental issues. We are very excited about this.

Many of our social value activities are connected to reuse and waste minimisation. For example, we collect a great deal of mobility equipment, like crutches and walking frames, that are restored and sent to be put back into use within the NHS. We are engaged in social initiatives in Surrey that many residents may not know about. For example, we have partnered with HMP Ford (an open prison) where we sponsor a bicycle workshop where prisoners can acquire mechanical skills. We collect bikes that are not in good working order and send them over to the prison, where they are worked on and then sent back and sold back into use, usually for around £25-£100. Additionally, through the Released on Temporary Licence scheme we give prisoners who are coming to the end of their sentence the opportunity to apply for a job with SUEZ as part of a rehabilitation through our employment programme which has been very successful. This is something we are very proud of. We are also doing a lot of work with the Ministry of Justice to help encourage other employers to set up similar programmes.

Reuse, Revive Shop at the Eco Park
Reuse, Revive Shop at the Eco Park

On a more personal note, what hobbies do you have?

Gardening really. I have a huge vegetable garden and I go to the reuse shop and get stuff for it there, so I am never short of plant pots. I also bought some clay roof tiles, which I use for kerbing in the garden. My goal is to become self-sufficient in terms of growing food, or at least as much as possible in London.

I would like to take the opportunity and thank you Kacie and the whole SUEZ team for doing such a great job of managing our waste in these magnificent facilities, and I hope that we, as consumers, will manage to discipline ourselves and take time to acquire new skills and knowledge that will help us deal with and segregate our domestic waste, for example by learning more about what we can put in our bins and what we can bring to the Charlton Lane, Shepperton recycling centre. Thank you again for taking the time to talk to us.

*Figures provided by Kacie Thompson SUEZ

**What do we do with your waste and how much do we recycle? – Surrey County Council (surreycc.gov.uk)

***Surrey Environment Partnership – Food waste recycling (Surreyep.org.UK

Reading time: 10 min

When I was a teenager in the late-1960s I can clearly remember our home’s rubbish bin. It was a metal bucket that stood in the corner of the kitchen. The bin was emptied about once a week, if I remember correctly. I would take the bucket and I then emptied it into a large barrel that was placed just under a tall poplar tree that stood outside our home. Sometimes the rubbish would overflow the barrel and would end up lying all around it on the ground.

A rubbish bucket.
The waste bin was where the arrow points in the picture.

When the actual rubbish, whatever it was, and it was not a lot when compared to today’s, was in the bucket, it became rubbish and belonged to another world. Once in the bucket, the rubbish was not taken out again because it was rubbish. Only in some exceptional cases one would dip back into the rubbish to salvage something that had been thrown away by mistake. Even then, one would wonder if it would be used again as if nothing happened. Clearly, there was a rubbish line and one practically had nothing to do with things that went beyond that line. That line was in one’s home, and it was your rubbish bucket.

I remember feeling sorry for the man who used to come once a month or two to collect the rubbish from outside our home. He would arrive with a horse pulling a trailer. It would take him about an hour or more to load the trailer with the help of a garden fork. The rubbish was collected from the barrel and the ground around it. That was his job, and one did not particularly talk to the rubbish man. However, it was different when Mr Hamerski*, the farm that was just on the outskirts of my hometown owner, attended to the rubbish himself. Many considered him almost a hero because he did a good job of getting rid of all the rubbish himself. These were my thoughts as a young child and then as a teenager. Today, I admire the people who collect the rubbish, arriving in their magnificent machines and collecting all that waste. They work so hard, and unfortunately, the smell coming out of the bins can often be unpleasant and quite difficult to cope with, so it is a very difficult, challenging and important job to do.

A man, horses and a trailer

The previous way of treating rubbish as rubbish has lasted with me for a long time. Once thrown away, it was rubbish. I had nothing to do with it and it definitely was not my problem. I also did not need to consider if my rubbish caused a dilemma. There was lots of freedom because rubbish was rubbish. The world felt big and endless. One could have as much rubbish as one wanted, but in reality, there was not that much of it. In Poland in the late-1960s, shopping was most often not wrapped, there were no plastic bags, and there was no custom of gift wrapping.

I had a great shock on my first visit to Britain in the 1970s to see how many English people would freely throw their rubbish, such as empty drink cans or crisp packets, straight on the ground—be it on the underground carriages, trains or just on the street. That was simply the way that it was done. I never could understand that solution with litter. Back in my hometown of Poznan, Poland, it was a very bad manner to throw any waste on the ground and it was placed instead into a rubbish bin. Since living in England from 1976, I have never deliberately thrown rubbish onto the ground. I have always felt very conscious about minding my rubbish throughout my life.

The litter was thrown away on the ground.

I remember sometime around the 1990s, about 30 years ago, people from Germany started to suggest separating our rubbish, depending on what it was, into separate containers. Initially, I thought that it was a bizarre idea and even a little bit ridiculous.

Things are so different today! I am the first to scrupulously attend to every piece of rubbish that I have to throw away. In fact, I am not so sure that the things that I need to throw away are really rubbish anymore. Bottles and jars, and paper and card need to be recycled. Plastic needs to be segregated between the recycle bin and general waste bin, depending on its type. Food goes into the food bin and garden waste goes into the garden waste bin. One thing is for sure, there is so much more rubbish generated today than back in the 1960s. I sometimes feel pain seeing all of the plastic packagings that I simply have to purchase with the products that I need, even if I am very selective.

A lot of our rubbish today is either recycled or burned in modern waste incinerators, where it is turned into electricity and waste. The ashes that come from the incinerators are further utilised in the building industry or road building (for example).

At this point, a question springs to mind: has this been a rubbish revolution or is it just a shift of the rubbish line? Looking back, I can see that the rubbish line has shifted from the rubbish bucket in my home to the rubbish dump site. After throwing our scrupulously segregated rubbish away today, be it in our home or directly at the waste dump site, only then we do not deal with it anymore. We are kind of helpless and depend on others to do the right thing with the large amounts of bad rubbish that we are daily forced to generate, and it is not really the case” out of sight, out of mind”.

Plastic bottles ready to be recycled
  • Wacław Hamerski “The more you learn to do something in your life, the more you will be a human being.”
Plastic litter found on the streets of Weybridge.
Reading time: 5 min

“It’s an important point to make that all war is terrible.”

The opinions given by the Commodore are personal and not necessarily those of the Royal Navy nor of the Ministry of Defence.

I’m talking to Commodore John Keegan, OBE who was born in 1959. Ever since he was a six- or seven-years-old boy, he visited ‘Navy Days’ in Portsmouth, and wanted to join the service from an early age. Soon after he turned 18, ‘In September 1977’ John tells us: ‘I arrived at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth (known as BRNC for short) along with a long list of strange items considered essential (such as stiff collar and studs, non-metallic hangers etc) and the great adventure began. This first period involved turning civilians into something approaching military people, and this meant learning the correct dress, bearing, and the ability to march and shoot. This was followed by practical naval studies, and most importantly aspects of leadership which still serve me well today. After ‘Passing Out’ in 1978, I joined the Fleet for six months before going on to read Naval Engineering and completing my postgraduate courses.

Photo by Brian Burnell HMS Liverpool CC BC-SA 3.0 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Liverpool_(D92)#/media/File:HMS_Liverpool_(D92).jpg
Photo by Ryan4314 HMSCardiff CC BC-SA 3.0 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Cardiff_(D108)#/media/File:HMS_Cardiff_(D108)_1.jpg
Photo by Geoff Parselle HMS Invincible OGL https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Invincible_(R05)#/media/File:HMS_Invincible_During_T200_Celebrations_MOD_45144681_(cropped).jpg

Photo by Paul A’Barow Portsmouth Royal Dockyard OGLv1.0

Then I was off to sea again while still training on the aircraft carrier  HERMES to study for my Fleet Board. It was essential to pass this to be able to continue my career. There followed many challenging appointments, both at sea and ashore. These involved a few scrapes here and there. During this time I served on one minehunter (BOSSINGTON), four destroyers (LIVERPOOL, MANCHESTER, EXETER and CARDIFF) and another aircraft carrier (INVINCIBLE), and this was later interspersed with shore jobs ranging from procurement of surface-to-air missiles, the Ministry of Defence (four times), the Operational Planner to Commander-in-Chief Fleet, a 6-month secondment to BP Amoco, Command of HMS RALEIGH ( New Entry Training), and finally as the Commander Maritime Reserves, which was head of one of the six fighting arms of the Service. I can honestly say looking back on this period that I had an exciting and interesting 36 years of constant change and jobs satisfaction: I met many people that I became enriched by, and made many good and enduring friendships, learning a great deal about myself on the way.

None of this would have been possible without the support of my wife Susan, who managed to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground during the general rigours of military life while staying strong when I was away for up to seven months at time. Our boys have followed on the Service life, one to the Royal Air Force and the other into the Army, making Susan and I very proud.’

Commodore, John Keegan retired in February 2013, and he has been recognized for his 36 years of dedicated service to the UK in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 2013, he was awarded an OBE for his “Outstanding Commitment to the UK” and for his “diverse and selfless career” in the Royal Navy. John, who was 54 at the time, said that the award was a complete surprise, but he was delighted to be recognised.

When you joined the Royal Navy in 1977, your father appeared not so keen on the choice of your career. Has he changed his mind as time has gone by?

 He has passed away now. Yes, he did. I think He actually was quite proud.

What about your mother? How did she feel about you wanting to join the Royal Navy?

 She thought it was a good career to have and followed it closely until she died two years ago.

Sorry to hear that. I’m sure your mother supported you because ever since you were a little boy you wanted to join the Navy.

Yes, she did. I thought it was a good idea to have a life in the armed forces and to be paid.

After obtaining your naval engineering degree and completing your officer training, you continued to be rapidly promoted from one position to another. Would you say that you had some special talents in your fields?

No, I think I was lucky. It’s a combination of being in the right place at the right time and attention to detail.

But don’t you have some special talents in the fields of mathematics and physics and science?

Yes, indeed. I liked mathematics. I liked physics and, it enabled me to go and work in the  Procurement Executive, where I’ve worked on anti-aircraft missiles.

While serving in the Royal Navy, how many real battles have you experienced?   

Two battles. Once during the first Gulf War when we were attacked by an Iraqi fighter armed with an Exocet missile, and my captain had been sunk by such a missile in the Falklands War. He calmed the Ship’s Company down by saying: ’Gentlemen, I’ve been sunk by an Exocet before, I don’t intend to be sunk again, which was a very good piece of leadership.

Did you have any losses, while fighting these battles?

No, thank goodness.

That is amazing. So, you didn’t have to deal with a problem of coping with such losses? You were feeling victorious and successful?

Well, I think you feel successful, but you don’t feel happy for those on the other side who lost their lives. I think it’s an important point to make that all war is terrible.

So, even after a victorious battle, you still feel grief for the losses on the other side?

 Of course, yes.

During the Persian Gulf War in the early 1990s, there was a serious threat that chemical weapons may have been used by the aggressor. Small levels of various chemicals were detected in various areas of land. If these weapons were used, would you still be in danger on the ship?

Oh yes. Very much so.

 So how do they reach the ship?

They can be carried with the wind, or they can be fitted into a shell that is firing the ship. So, you need to be very careful. I mean, we thought it was very real hazard. We took it very seriously.

What sort of protection can be used against such weapons? I know you can wear some kind of white anti-radiation boiler suits and masks. What else can help?

Well, there’s two things. One is a ship’s protection, and that’s called collective protection. The ship has a series of sprinklers on the upper deck, keeping the side of the ship wet, so the chemicals won’t stick, and of course the ship could be made airtight—completely airtight. And then there’s personal protection. You can wear clothing and a mask, and rubber gloves and boots. Also, if you need to access the upper deck it’s via an airlock.

What is an airlock?

The ship has a positive pressure inside. So, you open one door and shut the other door. So, you shut the door behind you, then you open the outer door. And this blows all the chemicals away.

Photo by Pawel Nolbert

And how long does the process of blowing chemicals away take?

Well, we were shut down in that state for many, many days.

So, you didn’t have to be in a battle to be endangered by the chemical weapon? And that’s why you had to protect yourself?

At any stage you could be fired upon. Even off the coast, you could be fired at with a missile with a chemical warhead or bombs with chemical agents. You get no warning of that, so you have to be able to shut down quickly and effectively.

The Royal Navy is known for representing the very high standards, not only in terms of the equipment and technology they use, but also with regard to the practical skills and mental aptitudes they require of their service people. A lot of pastoral, ethical, and moral guidance is given as part of the training. The British Royal Navy is known for its very high standards in all the fields that are required to serve in it. When naval authorities from other countries fall short on such standards, and it appears that they do not understand what they are doing wrong, there is a lack of communication; how do you cope with that?   

It’s a very difficult question.  I’m not answering this on behalf of the Navy. It is my personal view, it must be quite clear, but the Royal Navy have absolute standards. Maybe other nations aspire to those. And some fall short and some don’t, but we have an organization called Flag Officer Sea Training where we train ships and their crews from other nations to the same standards as us. And of course, we train with our NATO allies all the time. We train to a specific standard, and it’s an absolute standard, and our NATO allies meet that standard.

In the present conflict in Ukraine there are accusations that children, women, and vulnerable people are being used as human shields. Why doesn’t the thought of harming children, women, and vulnerable people stop any military action? Why isn’t their presence a more powerful deterrent to going ahead than any nuclear or chemical weapon?  

First of all, I should say that I have been retired for some eight years, so I am not familiar with what is happening tactically on the front in Ukraine, but as a principle using human shields of any sort is against the Geneva Convention.     

From the current situation in Ukraine we, the general public have learnt that there are a lot of rules when at war. The Russian president describes the Russian action in Ukraine as a ‘ Special Operation’, but in Britain, when talking about these events, we refer to this action as war. Do we just use a colloquial language? From the experts’ point of view, is it a war or a ‘Special Operation’?

There’s no doubt that it’s War. A ‘special operation’ has very limited aims and the invasion of another country’s territory is a war. ‘Special Operations’ is just, a name they’ve used to make it not sound so bad, 

Do you think that the international skills in the art of negotiation are currently at a peak standard, or is there room for improvement?

I wouldn’t know.

What about the war and climate change? Are you aware of whether current attitudes about the damages that come with war are up to date with the current climate change situation? Wars seem to come with a lot of CO2s as well as other damage.

All war is a retrograde step. The aggressors obviously they don’t care about climate change. The climate issue is very real, but when one country wants to invade another, they didn’t do it because of climate change issues, they do it to gain territory. I mean, the damage is done. Look at the destruction in Ukraine, at how very quickly it has happened. But I don’t think, Russia cares about climate change and how much damage is done.

It does not appear so. All the explosions cause more CO2 in the air.

During your time in the Royal Navy, Do you have any favourite times?

Yes. There are many more good days than bad days. Which is fantastic. I mean, the great advantage about being in the fighting service is that every two years you change jobs. You never get stale. There is always something different to do. My favourite times, too numerous to mention. Certainly, I enjoyed my time in the West Indies. I enjoyed my visits to the United States, but most of all, I enjoyed the comradeship of others. Warships are very insular place. A Destroyer is a 400-foot-long ship by 40-feet-wide with a crew 290. There’s not a lot of room for personal space, but I enjoy that. You have to enjoy the company of others, and I do.

Have you ever experienced terrible storms?

Oh, yes, regularly. First of all, I was on the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes in 1978 off Iceland and in force 11 storm, and the flight deck was awash with water, and that’s a 35,000-ton ship. And then in 1983, between the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, we were in force 12 and the ship went over 45 degrees and righted itself. That was quite scary. It took an awfully long time to come back to the upright position.

 You’re scared and under pressure to stay balanced.

At sea you’re always under pressure to stay balanced because small ships aren’t built for comfort, they’re built to carry war to the enemy. I have also been in quite a lot of heavy seas over the years

Have you seen some amazing sites of the world?

Oh, yes. Talking about climate change. In 1983 in South Georgia Fortuna glassier was nearly 10,000 feet high. Now it’s gone, completely gone, I understand. So, climate change is very real. You get to see some marvellous wildlife: porpoises and dolphins follow the ship in warm times.  Flying fish land on the deck, and there are penguins and elephant seals in South Atlantic. There is wonderful wildlife. It’s very comforting if you like being at sea, standing on the deck and watching the sun go down and watching the sun come up. Marvellous. It makes it all worthwhile.

Photo by Derek Oyen
Photo by Ranea Smith

How difficult is it for you now that you suffer Parkinson’s like syndromes, and we do not know exactly why, to go through the day? How difficult is it for you to keep this condition at bay?                                                                                                                      

Well, it’s progressive, so there’s always going to get worse, but you can manage. The important thing is to stay as cheerful as you can. I’ve got a good support network. My wife’s wonderful, and I’ve got some very good friends that all help out, and without them life would be very difficult. I’m lucky to have good friends.                                                                                                                              

Apart from your amazing military knowledge and skills, you also have passion for motor sports and philately. How long ago did you visit a motor sports event?

Oh, some years now, because I’m not able to because of Parkinson’s, but I used to go down to Le Mans regularly for the 24-hour race and attend the British Grand Prix. It’s been 10 or 15 years since I’ve been there now.

 You and Susan like cruising for holiday. Which of the recent cruises was your favourite?

The one to Alaska, yes. Fantastic. We went from the west coast of America up to Alaska and then back to Vancouver, and it was fabulous. We were the first ship of the season up there. Unbelievable. Peaceful scenery. It’s different doing it as a tourist rather than doing it for work.

That’s still being on the ship.

Yes. Being on a ship without responsibility.

Commodore John Keegan. I would like to take this opportunity and thank you and everyone else in the Royal Navy for your amazing service, and for everything that you have done that we know about, and for what we are not aware of. Also for the fact that you have been prepared to put yourself in danger, while we, as civilians, have been living carefree lives, and just enjoying ourselves and peace. Thank you for all that; it is so lovely to see you today and to be able to talk with you. Thank you for taking the time to speak to us.

Thank you very much.

Photo by Frank McKenna
Photo by Todd Cravens
Photo by Cristofer Maximilian

Reading time: 14 min
To watch click on the image

Reading time: 1 min

An interesting exhibition is coming up on Wednesday 6th – Sunday 24th April, 10 -4 pm in the Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre, Manor Rd, Walton-on- Thames KT12 2PF.

Don’t miss out.

Reading time: 1 min


Commodore John Keegan OBE RN


Photo by Caitlyn Wilson

I was lucky enough to serve in the Royal Navy for some 36 years between 1977 and 2013 at which time I was medically discharged with Parkinson’s like symptoms.

I often wonder how this choice of Career came about: I suspect strongly that it was because my Father said that I couldn’t join up and I didn’t know if he meant that I may not or could not. 

Soon my 18th Birthday I applied anyway!

So, I arrived at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth (just known a BRNC for short) along with a long list of clothing items considered essential (such as stiff collar and studs, non-metallic hangers etc) and the great adventure began.

Reading time: 1 min

I am talking to Matthew Wright an artist, who is mainly known to us for his oil paintings, his ink and watercolour paintings depicting numerous scenes of Surrey and around London, as well as for his work with pastels.

Matthew was born in London in 1945. As a child, he attended the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle in South Kensington, London. Then he attended the Byam Shaw School of Art, where he was recognised and won first prize for drawing and painting and also won the David Murray Travelling Scholarship to France. 

From 1966 to 1969 he continued his education at the Royal Academy Schools, and in 1969, on completion, he won again a prestigious First Landseer Prize and Silver Medal for three drawings of the head.

Between 1971 and 2006 Matthew held numerous exhibitions in London galleries of Hampstead, Camden Town, Chelsea, Highgate and Cork Street.

When it comes to his everyday life, he spends a considerable amount of time with his wife and family in his riverside Chertsey home in Surrey, and he frequently visits his second home in the south of France during the summer months, where he exhibits his work from his home and Atelier in the Old Town of Céret.

How old were you when you first realised that you were very good at drawing and painting?

I was about four years old when I did my first picture and my mother commented on it and said:” that is really fantastic, you must continue doing more work.” So, four is the earliest. 

It seems that art has been with you most of your life. 

Yes, it has been with me most of my life, which I probably inherited from my grandparents and my parents. My parents were both architects, and my mother was also an artist. She went to Chelsea Art College, and her father, my grandfather, was a sculptor, quite a well-known sculptor in London. His name was Newbury Abbot Trent (14 October 1885 – 2 August 1953), and my great uncle was also a London sculptor whose work is even more well known in London and his name was Gilbert Ledward (23 January 1888 – 21 June 1960).

Newbury Trent’s relief panels for Apollo, Victoria, London Cinema
Gilbert Ledward’s Venus fountain, Sloane Square, London.

Obviously, there is an amazing talent that runs in the family. So, when you were at the Royal Academy of Art and got your prestigious First Landseer Prize, named after another prominent British painter, it gave you, not only a deserving recognition for your talent, ability and your art by highly qualified artists other than your family, but also the confidence for life. 

That is true. Because I was at the Royal Academy Schools, that is already a tribute to the work that I’ve had done. Just to be able to get there. You are already selected before applying to enter the Royal Academy. You are vetted by your previous Art College, in my case the Byam Shaw, and they put my name down as a suitable candidate to try for The Royal Academy. And then you have a one-in-250 chance of getting in, because they only accept  25 to 30 people every year.

So, by getting in you knew that your work was already recognised.

In a way it was difficult for me, because if you are an artist, you are very sensitive. So suddenly you are put on a pedestal. Everyone knows you are good, so everything you do has to be, good!

That puts you under pressure. Yes, I had a difficult time when I was in the Academy and did not produce much good work.

But you must have, as on completion you were awarded the First Landseer Prize and won a Silver Medal. 

I did alright with my drawing, and my drawing kept me going really well, but the painting – I could not settle down to be the oil painter that I now am. I needed to get through the Royal Academy, leave, and then settle down and find myself.

Please tell us how it has happened that you decided to choose as your topic for your ink and watercolour paintings to paint the scenes of our villages and towns from around Britain? 

This happened because when I had my final show at the Royal Academy, which is called your Diploma Show, galleries from around London came to look at the various artists’ work, who were leaving College that year, and one gallery in Hampstead picked me out and said: ”We are prepared to give you an exhibition of your work when you leave.” So, I had my first exhibition up in Hampstead. They said:” Would you mind doing us a picture of some part of Hampstead to produce as the poster for your forthcoming show? It will help to get more publicity if the posters go up around town in Hampstead”. The poster did so well, people kept coming back to the gallery, to buy a poster. So, the Gallery said they thought I had a very good market for doing that sort of work, and particularly there in Hampstead, and they also said they would be happy to show my work of anything  I did of Hampstead. So, I started to produce many, many pictures of Hampstead and then that turned into producing them as prints and then finally as cards. 

We can now find them all over the place: in post offices, in bookshops and in some gift shops.

Yes, they are mostly in bookshops, principally in many Waterstones in central London. I also supply many other places such as the Weybridge Post Office where they have exclusivity of the local cards.

Matthew and his wife form a very good team for providing us with Matthew’s amazing postcards and prints. He paints them and his wife prints them.

You paint in oil; you also paint in ink and watercolour, as well as in pastels. Which art medium is your favourite?

The one I like best is oil painting. It is far more ambitious, and it is more challenging. However, I am much more comfortable with the pen and ink watercolours, which comes naturally to me.

Your oil painting, it looks like it just effortlessly happens, too. I am very appreciative of your paintings.

River, oil painting by Matthew Wright

Why is art important to you?

I suppose, because of my fascination for trying to find oneself through that medium. It is challenging; I love colour and I love the medium of oil, so that is probably why.

I am going to ask you a couple of questions, but I am not sure if you will be able to answer them.

I viewed your oil paintings via your gallery. They reflect the beauty and happiness of life and the colours are quite magical. That is how I perceive them.

I want to ask, what inspires you to choose the particular colours and mix them the way you do for your paintings?

Céret, Sitting room, oil painting by Matthew Wright

That is very, very difficult to answer, because that is for me the magic of painting, and it normally comes about through something inside me in the way I see things and eventually will come out through the colour. Do not ask me how I mix the colours or why I mix them in that way, because I do not know myself, and sometimes I would finish a picture and say, “I am not happy with it,” and put it away to the side in the studio and start something else. And I come back the next day and look at it and say:’ but that is fine, why did I throw it out?’ And you sometimes cannot recognise what you have done, and it takes my wife and my family to look at something and say, “Oh, I really love that one”. And you are not aware why they like that, but not another one. I suppose it is a personal taste. 

My other difficult question is this: We are surrounded by beautiful scenes, landscapes, flowers, beautiful nature. We have got it first-hand every day, and we have got it as accurate as it can be and as it is, so why is it and what is it that makes a painter paint the scenes? Then we, the admirers, buy the picture, hang this picture of the scenes on the wall, it often stays with us all our life and it becomes part of our life. Why do we do this?

I think we all associate ourselves with the areas where we live, whether it is just the habitual use of a place where we live. For instance, you are here in Weybridge, and you know streets of Weybridge and some mean more to you than others, and I would go myself around town and find places that I like.

So, these are some aesthetic features that we want to point out, and it is the artist who is showing and drawing attention to them.

Showing the way in a way. 

Yes. The colours, the magic, and we do not know why.

We do not know why exactly, but I suppose it is just the fact that you recognise the area, and it means something to you because you walk down that road every day, or whatever it is. There is a connection between you and your environment and where you live, that in one sense you can call magical. 

Would you say that it is some feature, like the sense of aesthetics, which is very characteristic to us humans, that makes us do these things? 

I think so, but I suppose you can even take it to the basics of an animal. An animal has its own little area that it feels happy with, and it’ll fight for that corner where it lives. 

So, in many ways, we do fight for our own environment where we live and do not want to see things change. Why do we not want things to change? Because aesthetically they are pleasing to us. 

My question is really about, why we bother to do this. We can just go out and look at this building or tree, but then we decide to paint it and hang it on our walls as pictures. This is a difficult question, maybe a nonsense question.

It is not a nonsense question, it is an interesting one, it is about why we do it? I think it is the association we have with that area. As you just said, you can walk out and just have a look at it, or you could take a photograph of it and put it on your wall.

It is not the same, though.

There is no emotion or feeling in the photograph that will come through as deep as a personal reflection. 

So, we get the feeling of that particular person who is painting, and that is another kind of extra magic in life.

It is. It’s because you actually see it in a way through the eye of what the painter saw. 

That is what you are actually seeing.

I have got the answer. Thank you, that is very lovely to find out.

What do you like to do when you are not painting? Do you have other interests?

I do not have many. I row on the river, and I like nature very much, obviously, from what I do, but because now I am somewhat handicapped, I can’t get out as much as I used to, which is annoying. So, I read, I probably watch far too much TV and I tend to work every day as a rule.

Do you go to other exhibitions?

I go occasionally to exhibitions mostly in London with a friend of mine that I have known for the last 35 years. We meet up and visit galleries in London. 

Do you sometimes go to Switzerland, like to Basel that is full of galleries?

No, I do not travel very far because of my handicap. I tend to go by car, and often galleries are situated in parts of towns where you cannot get your car close to, and it involves a lot of walking. So, viewing galleries becomes more and more problematical.

Once you find yourself in the situation you suddenly may discover that the appropriate facilities are not always there. That poses an unnecessary obstacle for people with particular needs.

From the environmental point of view, do you think that there is space for improvement of the artist’s way of life?

I know, for instance, that paints in the 19th century, at the time of Sir Edwin Landseer and Van Gogh were very toxic. They are not toxic now. 

I only use recognised artists’ oil paints. I do not know how they can be improved. I tend to keep my window open when I paint or when I clean my brushes for health reasons.

I would like to thank you for your beautiful art and for making it available to us via various outlets like Waterstones bookstores, post offices, including our own in Weybridge, some gift shops and of course your website.


We are very lucky to have you living in Chertsey, within our reach, and we are very proud to have artists like yourself in our community.

Thank you for taking your time and talking to us.

Thank you very much for interviewing me and for appreciating my work. It is very kind of you.

Weybridge Lock 1997 Watercolour and Ink by Mathew Wright Postcard
St James’ Church, Watercolour and ink by Matthew Wright
Reading time: 11 min

Radek Kosarzycki

11th January 2022

Wind turbine in front of the house. Here’s a new idea

We associate wind turbines mainly with large windmills that stand somewhere in the fields. Recently, we have also heard more and more about wind turbines placed on lakes and at sea. What if you put a wind turbine next to your home? Do you think it’s going to be ugly and non-functional? Nothing could be further from the truth. Here is a modern wall of wind turbines that looks nice and gives you free electricity.

Wind turbines can take different shapes than classic windmills. Today we will focus on the energy wall consisting of several dozen small turbines. However, it is worth recalling that there are also vertical wind turbines, as well as those in the shape of giant vibrators.

Wind farms have long been considered one of the most important solutions in the field of energy. The wind moving the blades of powerful wind turbines is an extremely clean renewable energy source. If only it was possible to create an inconspicuous, pocket version of such a turbine.

Every now and then we can read about another new and the largest wind turbine capable of powering tens of thousands of houses all at once, and this is again about some new wind farm standing on the open waters of seas or even lakes. Such turbines, however, do not belong to inconspicuous devices. The largest turbines are visible in the landscape even from a distance of several miles. In the immediate vicinity, however, they are objects completely dominant to the landscape.

For this reason, it is rare to see wind turbines placed by private individuals outside their homes in order to generate electricity for their own use. After all, even a small turbine would still have to be quite a large construction.

The power wall consists of dozens of small wind turbines

This is the idea of Joe Doucet, an American designer and entrepreneur. When you look at the design he developed, it’s hard to say that it could be a wind turbine at all. According to the designer’s assurances, the wall of wind turbines will be able to generate up to 10,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year, which should be enough to power the entire house.

Theoretically, it is such small structures that can contribute the most to humanity’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Powerful wind turbines or entire wind farms require appropriate conditions, a sufficiently large, open area and colossal financial outlays, therefore they certainly will not appear in every possible and suitable place for them. However, if people were able to put their own wall of wind turbines next to their home at a relatively low cost, the effect of scale could be enormous. It is worth noting that the mass production of a large number of such turbines would automatically reduce their price, increasing accessibility for an increasing number of consumers interested in ecological and cheap electricity.

The wind turbine wall proposed by Doucet is 240 cm high and 760 cm wide and consists of several dozen small surfaces rotated by the wind flowing through it. The energy generated by these tiles is then transferred to batteries installed on the wall of the building.

Currently, talks are underway with potential entities interested in introducing the device into production.

Reading time: 2 min


22 OCTOBER 2021

Scientists from Oxford focused on the efficiency of wind turbines. Thousands of hours of computer simulations have shown that wind turbines with rotors with the vertical axis of rotation are much more efficient than typical, well-known to us “windmills”.

Wind turbines as we know them can go into oblivion. Scientific simulations carried out by scientists from Oxford Brookes University indicate that the design of wind turbines should be completely changed. How big is the change?

Sometimes the simplest methods turn out to be the most workable. The wind is the cleanest, cheapest and always available source of energy that can be converted into electricity. Scientists have conducted studies in which it can be obtained from the wind even more. Simply…by positioning the turbines vertically.

Until now, we associated wind power plants with large horizontal turbines powered by powerful rotors usually consisting of three blades. However, research indicates that vertical turbines may be more efficient.

How does a vertical turbine differ from a horizontal one?

Before we answer this question, let’s explain the difference between horizontal and vertical turbines. Their orientation is determined in relation  to the axis of the rotor. Horizontal turbines are those that we know from Polish farm winds: a high pole, with a spinning windmill on its side.   Vertical turbines, in turn, are those that in terms of rotation axis resemble helicopter rotors. In the case of a wind farm, such a turbine is placed on top of the pole.

Typical wind farms consist of multiple turbines standing at a short distance from each other. Their weakness, however, lies in the fact that when the wind blows, only those turbines that the wind hits first work most efficiently. Calculations indicate that such turbines can convert about 50 per cent of wind into electricity. However, when the wind passes between the rotor blades, its flow will be disturbed by them, and thus the kinetic energy will decrease. Therefore, all subsequent turbines on a given farm will generate much less energy.

And then the computer simulations come in, all in white.

Researchers at Oxford Brookes University set out to see if there is a version of wind turbines that will be able to manage the wind stream more efficiently so that further turbines also generate more electricity. More than 11,000 hours of computer simulations have established that wind turbines with rotors whose axis of rotation is vertically positioned are much more efficient than typical “windmills”.

When the simulation set the turbines of the new type in pairs, they mutually increased their efficiency in generating electricity by 15 percent. Engineers point out that turbines of this type can be placed much closer to each other, thanks to which their efficiency will increase instead of decreasing, as is currently the case. Higher efficiency means lower electricity costs.

The researchers argue that the results of their simulations may prove to be extremely important in the process of transition of the whole world to renewable energy sources. The recently published Global Wind Report 2021 indicates that to meet the objectives of the current treaties and avoid irreversible climate change, wind farms should be installed in the world three times faster than at present. If it is possible to create denser and more efficient wind farms, the goal will be at least a little closer to us.

do-follow: Klasyczne turbiny wiatrowe mogą zniknąć. Naukowcy wiedzą czym zastąpić wiatraki (spidersweb.pl)https://spidersweb.pl/2021/10/farmy-wiatrowe-turbiny-pionowe-poziome.html

Reading time: 2 min
To see the content click on the image above.

Reading time: 1 min

According to history, the first kind of money people used was commodity money, which is a currency whose value comes from the commodity from which it is made.

There was an exchange of goods according to the value of different items. Various articles of different value were bartered to obtain other commodities.

The first gold, silver and bronze coins used as money, were minted in the region known today as the country of Turkey, which was then known as the Kingdom of Lydia – around 2,700 years ago. The value of coins at that time reflected the value of the material used. The first other metal coins began to circulate in the seventh century BC. History shows that people return to the use of commodity money during times of disaster. In some countries not so long ago, immediately. after the end of World War II, for example, cigarettes were used as a means of payment for goods distributed on the black market.

Paper Money

Paper money was first invented in China about one thousand years ago and consists of banknotes with the value printed on it. It is money made up of banknotes with the value printed on each banknote . Paper money started to circulate in Europe about mid-16th century. The trend grew to popularity by the mid-17th century. At that time, banks that produced banknotes, had to keep gold reserves of equal value in their treasury to guarantee the value of the notes. Today, issued banknotes are not always covered by an equal value of gold deposits. The printing and issuing of money can only be done by authorised banks.

Fiat Money

Today, the money in our bank account is also known as “fiat” money. The Arab Merchants in the Middle Ages, who used the bill of exchange as a method of settling accounts in international trade are attributed with introducing the concept of fiat money, also known as a bill of exchange, to Europe.

Instead of using physical money like banknotes and coins, they recorded loans and claims in their books. Currently, we most often use electronic payments, also known as digital money, for everyday living, such as when paying with a bank card in shops or authorising a transfer to pay for an electricity bill. When we withdraw cash at the cash machines, the electronic  money (which is both digital money and fiat money) is converted into paper money( which is also fiat money).

Digital Money

Digital currency is a form of currency that is available only in digital or electronic form, and not in physical form. It is also called digital money, electronic money, electronic currency, digital cash or  cyber-cash.

To use any form of digital money, we need to use technologies such as computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, money credit cards, and online cryptocurrency exchanges for cryptocurrencies. We also need to use a lot of electricity. 

Digital Cash

Digital cash term refers to money that may be transferred electronically from one party to another during a transaction.

Currently there is a tendency to replace physical cash with digital cash. One argument that speaks in favour of digital cash discusses its anonymity, however, such cash will not necessarily be anonymous if it is regulated by a central bank.

Incorporating digital cash in everyday life would require all of us to use technologies like smartphones for our daily purchases and become familiar with operating them successfully. Many people need glasses for reading, but not for other activities. Putting glasses on and off in a shop or even when shopping online, to have to read digital cash related text on smartphones, might become an additional inconvenience for many people with poor eyesight and that would need to be faced when switching to the digital cash system. With the arrival and exclusive use of digital cash for daily purchases cash machines would become obsolete .

Here in the UK, we could, easily generate electricity by installing domestic vertical wind turbines on our roofs or at the bottom of our gardens, as long as we ensure that they work properly. We could then sell the generated electricity to the grid, which could help to ensure that we have enough electricity for our digital cash. The generation of more electricity would also increase the quantity of digital cash in our bank accounts. However, to benefit from domestic wind turbines  or solar power in order to generate more money or electricity , we do not need  to wait for the digital cash system to be put in place.   

Physical cash

Some electrosensitive people, for instance, are very disturbed by the use of the modern technologies of today and tomorrow that require the use of electricity. We also know that we need to shield children from being exposed to the excessive radiation that come with modern technologies.

Changing over entirely to digital cash would thus not be practical and wise. We must not forget that we live in times of environmental disasters like, floods, storms, tornedoes, fires, earthquakes and pandemics, therefore we are in danger of unexpected electric power cuts, disturbed media of communication and the possible physical indispositions of the masses all at once.

Physical money not only secures the means of exchange at the time of disaster, but also comes with many benefits during the times of stability. The coin or note is the best way to ensure our freedom of movement, the freedom that results from anonymity, the freedom to be spontaneous, the freedom from the land and even the freedom to exist away from our smartphones, that most likely will always need to be registered in our names.

The “best of both worlds” in this case, comes with a choice and involves maintaining access to physical money as well as digital money whenever we need it. Having availability of physical money will simply be a sensible thing to do: like our reason for keeping a spare wheel in our car.  

Source of information:

A short history of money | Erste Financial Life Park| Erste Financial Life

Park | Financial Educationhttps://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/digital-currency.a                               


Reading time: 5 min

George Steven Boughton is continuously coming up with novel solutions; but are ideas such as living in man-made Near Earth Territories, or humans having a genetic modification to be there for real or just science fiction?

George Steven Boughton

George Steven Boughton was born in Asmara, Eritrea, Africa in 1943 to English parents. He is a Chartered  Engineer with an Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering. His international education started in Rome, Italy where he attended a French school Les Petit Oiseau from ages three to eight years old. From ages 11 to 14 years old, his education continued in Roaring Brook Elementary in New York, followed by boarding at Wellington School in Somerset, and Northampton College of Advanced Technology (now City University), London.

To us George Steven Boughton is best known as the author of Deepstorm OutTack, Black Gold -Black Scorpion, and his latest innovative ebook that combines the written word with film: Dennis to Alice. Although the book is aimed at children and teens,, it is suitable for readers of all ages.

George S. Boughton lived and worked in managerial positions in many places around the world. Right from the beginning, as a young man, and throughout his entire professional life, he represented ability, bravery, authority, and a sense of responsibility. He lived and worked in Nigeria in Africa: Kuwait in Western Asia; Hong Kong in Eastern Asia; Australia; South Africa; the United Kingdom (UK), as well as for a company in Texas, United States of America (USA).

Engineering dominated his professional life, but I recognise his natural talent to write.

When you were young and you had to decide which path to take in your life, I asked, was engineering your first choice, or was it just a practical decision?

Actually, when I was at school, I wanted to become an architect, but the career advisor there pointed to a sports car and a very attractive girl in it and said, ‘If you want that, then don’t go for architecture, there are many and few who earn big money’. ‘So, I said, Well, what should I do?’ And he said, ‘Take up engineering instead’. So that’s what I did, and followed a career in oil engineering. But my passion, really, is more for the artistic, and, in the end, I’ve come back to that.

Space by NASA

His scientific predispositions and abilities show clearly in his extensive research for Deepstorm OutTack.

Is engineering something that comes to you naturally or do you have to work at it?

No, I enjoy that too because I enjoy the logic in engineering, and the research I’ve done for… OutTack, involved delving back through time . What I did was to look back through prehistory to understand what was going on with previous mass extinctions, by not looking at it in the context of one discipline but across several. So, not just what was happening to the dinosaurs, for instance, but what was happening to the mammals as well, and the climate, and the oceans and the Arctic regions, and trying to understand across all disciplines if there was a connection.

I want to come back to your young life as an engineer, as I think you should be appreciated for what you did in your life then. As a young man working in Nigeria, Africa, you were often exposed to many dangerous situations.  Having your scientific predispositions, engineering skills, and abilities, did you come up with any ideas of your own to make life safer and better in the oil industry, where you spent so much time during your young life?

That was a very intense time for myself, my wife Pam, and my baby daughter, Natasha. There was a war going on, the Biafran War, and for much of it I, was behind or close to enemy lines building pipelines and facilities for when the war would be over. I didn’t have the chance to be creative. I went from constructing facilities to designing them, but the designs were more or less following previous concepts. I did change some suppliers and designs . . . I researched the availability of equipment, that would be better suited . . . and most significantly I worked closely with geologists and petroleum engineers to anticipate optimally what the designs should be.

Engineers in Nigeria busy constructing pipelines

You saved a lot of money for the oil industry by researching and finding suitable designs and had your proposals put to practice. That is quite a contribution.

You lived and worked in many places; what would be your favourite memories professionally, associated with those places ?

I think the camaraderie, the feeling we had, although there was a war going on, in Nigeria, with Shell. There was a tremendous connection with everyone there and not just me, but my family.  We were very supportive of each other, probably because of the war and the events.  So that was a really strong memory for me . . . Certainly. Nigeria.

Kuwait was an amazing experience.  But I think, the next biggest was Hong Kong,  where I managed the design and rollout of what was to become the world’s first e-Gov; an IT system for government, contractors and consultants, in this case on Hong Kong’s New Airport project Kowloon section. What’s happening there now, I feel very passionate about for the people there, because it’s wrong. It’s a wonderful place Hong Kong.

I understand both in Hong Kong and Kuwait you participated in your own hobbies as an actor and played parts in pantomimes.

Yeah.  There was only one theatre in Kuwait, and around  Christmas it was packed with 100s wanting to enjoy the festive spirit. And I got the opportunity to be Buttons in Cinderella. I really enjoyed that because the interaction with the audience is fantastic.

A scene with Buttons in the Cinderella pantomime in London

 Your book Deepstorm OutTack, which offered you so much creative freedom, was first published in 2012, which is quite late in your life, considering that you have a natural talent to write.

It is a very accomplished book in the realm of science fiction, but it’s predominantly inspired by the reality of things. Since it was published, quite a few unexpected things happened. First, Sir Roger Penrose, the Nobel Prize Laureate 2020 in physics, came up with the discovery that ‘black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity’. That led to his other claim about the Big Bang, to which you also refer in your book, as not necessarily the beginning.  Sir Roger Penrose introduces and presents us with new scientific ideas that were not known to us before. 

Do these new findings interfere or maybe even outdate DeepStorm OutTack’s scientific vision in any way?

No, I don’t think so. OutTack was supposed to be followed by two more books and in those I would take my arguments further. OutTack is about people beginning to live and work in space, close to Earth, because we run out of space down here on Earth, and we keep growing our populations and need somewhere else to populate. I want to explore in the next book, how people evolve in space, because they will evolve. It’ll be different. 

Another unexpected event happened since your book was published: a global pandemic.

At the time of writing your book and doing extensive scientific research over the period of 2000 to 2012, did you ever consider this possibility as another threat to our life?

No, I never conceived of that . . . Yes. It’s taken the whole world by surprise basically, this pandemic.

Recently, you have been involved in The Noah’s Ark project, which has been launched by two entrepreneurs, one from South Africa and one from Britain, Hein and Richard Prinsloo Curson. They are aiming to raise £5 billion by crowdfunding in order to build a state-of-the-art Conservation Park in the KwaZulu Natal region in Africa. They intend to gather all species of animals and create a genetic bank of all life on Earth there.

How did you get involved with this project and what is your role in it?

I first met Richard on . . . The Zodiac Cooks, which is a book about cooking, using the stars and  star signs. He’s a publicist. That took us on to another book, which is The Ginologist Cook, a cookery book based on using gin in cookery. We published both books.  And that spurred Richard and his partner Hein to ask if we would publish You are Noah for The Noah’s Ark project, which we are doing.

It is a wildlife conservation project. And I think the best way to look at that is that with a lot of animals we now know and love, like tigers, for instance, there are more in captivity than in the wild. The numbers in the wild are dwindling fast. We’re going to end up with a planet where the only specimens we have are all in captivity. And that’s terrible, because for a start, evolution will stop.  The only thing able to evolve will be plants and insects and man, and that would be crazy.  It would be a dead planet.

Conservation | gbp-publishing-org | UK (gbpublishing.co.uk)

Do you have a personal sentiment for Africa because you were born there? Do you somehow feel connected and life takes you one way or the other towards Africa?

I started there, and, it seems, I keep going back there.  And yes, I have an affinity with Africa.

As time passes by, we’re now in the 21st century (this is my own reflection), and we are proud of our scientific achievements and discoveries; often the purpose of pursuing them is to protect and to prolong life. However, it seems to me, despite having all the newly acquired scientific knowledge, we, as mankind, seem to be getting no better at managing our life, instead we have man-made Climate Change. We appear to be better in saving lives, protecting lives, and protecting new life, but now some see the sustainability problem in overpopulation and overdevelopment. We have made higher education more available, with more scientists and more scientific research. And yet, instead of making us wiser, it often leads us astray and into helplessness.

What are your comments about such observations and thoughts?

Basically, the direction we’re going in is an artificial world, where everything is man-made.  Where everything we demand is managed.

Yes. But we have all the science and instead of getting wiser, we get ourselves in trouble.

The more we take control of everything, the forests, the climate, the rivers, lakes, everything, the more artificial it is.  And then it’s not real nature, and we lose the beauty of it.  We lose the benefit of it.  And part of that is that, we lose the way that evolution works.  Evolution has a design, I believe; I don’t believe it’s entirely random, survival of the fittest, as Darwin spoke of. I believe there is a design; and we are interfering with that design because we’re taking over, and we lose the majesty of it.

Do you blame the scientists for doing their research or whom do you blame for the problems and situation we end up with?

We’re stuck in a small space where we have taken over so much of it, that we then end up controlling it because we are the bull in the china shop.

.What do you think about the management of the scientific results and knowledge? Do we do it well? Obviously not. Who is not doing a good job, because you and I we think that we are doing a good job?

No, I think this pandemic has thrown up a few things. There is a positive side to this pandemic.  One of which is that hopefully, certainly in some communities, people are more caring towards each other and more interested in each other and more interested in nature.  But I think another  positive thing that’s come out of the pandemic is that the world needs to work together to defeat it.

I think there needs to be a fresh look at the systems of governments, with less emphasis on what the public wants. The people who are on top of a cooperation know the heart of their cooperation. Any organisation big or small, any endeavour, needs to be driven by people who really, passionately understand the creative edge of that business.

Today, from a practical point of view, what would you expect from the Weybridge community in mitigating Climate Change? What is it we could be doing and start doing tomorrow?

I think the direction the government is taking to reward farmers for conservation projects, instead of simply subsidising agriculture is the right direction.  But as critics have said, it’s a drop in the ocean; it needs to be on a much bigger scale.  We need to rewild a lot of areas. Before we started the interview, you talked about vertical agriculture, that area is definitely one that can help.  If we use those techniques to free up land, we get rewarded with real nature.

So how can we people in Weybridge contribute?  What can we do in our daily lives, in our gardens for instance? Would you advise us to plant a tree, and if yes what type of tree, and things like that?

The woodland trust, I think is an amazing organisation throughout Britain, and there is the local trust where it is about planting trees and getting nature back.  In fact, it’s not just the trees, it’s the creatures in the trees and returning the hedgerows, and the central reservations in the highways, where animals have a refuge.  I think in the Weybridge area, in all rural areas, we ought to get back to the idea of a common, in the centre of the town, where people can congregate and enjoy and not just for socialising but to enjoy nature too.  So, I would like to see a ring road around towns, and let the towns be more pedestrianised, but also with trees and parks.


That sounds like a very nice project, and it’s possible to put it into practice, as well.

George, unlike the majority of us, perceives the emergency of the situation, and considers for real that some of us should prepare for living in the Near Earth Territories where new populations will need to be genetically modified to be able to sustain staying there for a considerable amount of time without adverse effects.

‘If we are going to carry on having babies and making everyone wealthy, then we need to create more living space, and the only way to do that is off planet. Eventually, at some point our planet is overpopulated, and I think it is very close to that right now.’

Another suggestion he proposes as an engineer who spent a lot of time in the oil industry and as a writer who has done extensive research for Deepstorm OutTack, is to get oil out of the ground. He says about the oil ‘ At its dirtiest, spread out over the oceans, it can kill more than individual life forms. It can stop all life – it’s most likely done that in the past – by shutting down the carbon and water cycles that vitally re-terraform the land. Reservoirs of oil, in rock structures deep underground all over the world, risk being opened up by earthquake fractures and spewed out over seas. That would be hugely catastrophic, dwarfing the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as it would literally be unstoppable. The solution: get it out of the ground. NOW. By all means, which includes fracking.’

Finally, please tell us, why should we go to GBP, to buy books from you and why should we come to you to have them published by you?

I think the first answer is because we’ve been very selective, and the authors we’ve got, quite a few of them, are award winning. They’re excellent, authors. Now we’re going into a new phase with our latest book Dennis to Alice, in using technology to make it as much a movie as a book. The idea came about when we discovered that young adults and teenagers tend to switch off altogether from reading books. They read what they have to read for classwork, but they don’t read for pleasure. The aim of mixing a book with a movie is to reverse that trend and encourage reading.

So, this book, the concept of using technology in the book is your personal concept, you’re an inventor or a pioneer of this type of book?

Well, we’re ahead in this; there are attempts at augmented reality in books, but this one, I think, has the lead. The concept, really, is for the movie to run as you turn the pages. The software supporting that is not fully there yet. But even now, it is a complete movie, the whole book is a movie; you are buying a movie as much as a book. The idea behind it is attracting people to have an armchair movie experience, one that draws them back to reading. And that’s a good thing, because they are reading…

Well,  your style of writing in particular is very beautiful, and it’s got elements of poetry in it, so it is a very uplifting experience reading beautifully written words and watching the film that complements those words additionally.  In this specific case, it is a report, but I already can see amazing potential for the theatre world as well.

Yes, thank you. Appreciate that.

And you’re obviously the inventor and the pioneer of this amazing concept. Thank you very much for that.

 Books To Read | GB Publishing.org | England

Also, I wanted to find out, do you organise local community meetings with authors, so we can meet you and ask questions to do with your books that you write, or maybe other topics that you want to talk about? Are you planning any meetings like this in the future?

Yes. We’ve had events, in particular, with a very successful book of ours  Ozlem’s Turkish Table, by author Ozlem Warren.  The book is a 2020 Best in the World Gourmand Book Award winner. That’s the Oscars of cookery book awards. It’s cookery and culture, the award ceremony scheduled to take place in Paris this June, at the Louvre has been rescheduled to Les Cordeliers in November. And she’s held a lot of events here in Weybridge, in Aroma, in Neptune and other places. But she’s also had meetings in Divertimenti London, as well as she’s been on radio in Boston and other events. Penny Thornton with The Zodiac Cooks has also been in magazines and on television. We were planning to have a lot of events. None of them are happening at the moment because of COVID.  Ozlem, who lives in Weybridge, is carrying on with hers, virtually. So, on the fifth of December she had a virtual cookery class, which was global, and extremely well attended. More are planned: https://ww.gbpublishing.co.uk/ozlemsturkishtable

Thank you very much for taking your time and talking to us.

Thank you Iwona. I really appreciate it. Thank you.

Reading time: 16 min

Aromatherapy is an old knowledge, about how the use of the aromas of essential oils and other aromatic products can improve psychological and physical wellbeing. It is also knowledge about how to use essential oils and their scents and vapours to help with healing, strengthen the immune system and prevent and sooth a health problem.

The expertise and practical observation of the effects of essential oils have been gathered from generation to generation throughout the centuries.

Aromatherapy and the use of essential oils was known in ancient times in Egypt, Greece, China and the Roman Empire. As early as that, essential oils were recognised for their aesthetic value and mood uplifting properties. They were also known as an effective healer for nerves and wounds or as a disinfectant that kept diseases away. Egyptians used essential oils not only for mummification but also to treat depression and neurological problems. In Babylon (around 1800 B.C.), essential oils like lemon, cedar and mirra, known for their antiseptic properties, were added to the building materials for Temples to ensure the disinfection of the rooms. In India, they used sandalwood to build Temples for the same reason, as sandalwood oils are highly antiseptic. It is because of their antiseptic properties that essential oils were used as a means to fight infectious diseases and epidemics. One often quoted example is that of the little English town of Bucklesbury which avoided in the 17th century the death of its local people during a disease outbreak. Bucklesbury was a trade centre and grower of lavender, and the air filled with the scent of the lavender oil had antiseptic properties that protected people from falling ill. Lavender was used a century before that to guard against cholera.*

The 20th century saw the revival of the use of aromatherapy with leaders like Dr Jean Valnet, Robert Tisserand and Micheline Arcier, among many others all around the world. I also am very fascinated by the art of aromatherapy and took a prestigious course with Micheline Arcier in 1987 which led to obtaining a diploma in the practice of Aromatherapy.

Most of the practicing aromatherapists have the knowledge acquired from lectures and practical demonstrations. Our skills are put to practical use based on what we have learned from lectures. We do not study essential oils in a laboratory. I very much believe in what I have learnt during my study of aromatherapy. In my own practice, I would mainly use and mix the essential oils to provide relaxation, restoration and uplifting of mood through an aromatherapy massage treatments. On numerous occasions, I have explained to clients the amazing properties of essential oils . I also have always been very conscious of the antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral properties of the oils. I used this knowledge of the oils as a guarantee to maintain hygiene and prevent cross-infection.

After all of that, if I try today to spread advice to use the scents of essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, etc., to possibly protect oneself from COVID-19 in addition to the use of other protective measures like hygiene and reasonable distancing, I am at risk to be labelled by some as a person who is spreading fake pieces of health advice. Suddenly the knowledge of aromatherapy turns into insignificant pseudoscience.

‘The Food and Drug Administration in US has warned companies selling essential oils that are “safe or effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19”’; ‘These claims have now been removed from websites, but posts still circulate about the benefits of eucalyptus oil vapours offering protection against viral infection’. **

Russel Buhr, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary and critical care at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in California, gave his opinion as:  ‘There just isn’t a sufficient body of evidence to support their routine (essential oils) use for the promotion of lung health’. ***

‘They don’t appear to have much of any therapeutic benefit, so they are not going to help you’. ***stated David Benther, MD, a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado.

Although these comments are made in the context of asthma problems, it is very disappointing to find out that modern experts have this type of view about essential oils and their uses.

When we go back in time, the famous 10th century Persian philosopher and physician known in the west as Avicenna was given the title


‘Prince of Physicians’. His famous books are ‘The Book of Healing’ and ‘The Cannon of Medicine’. Avicenna promoted the medicinal use of plants, and in his work, there are references to the medicinal use of oils like lavender, camomile and rose. ****

With such a solid ground laid down by physicians like Avicenna, not all is lost today, particularly during such challenging times as the COVID-19 pandemic. Here and there on the Internet, one can trace information that is possibly a promising finding, like that about Citrodol spray.

Citrodol is derived from the oil of eucalyptus.

‘Citrodol sprays were made available to the army in the early phases of COVID-19 as they were known to kill other strains of Coronaviruses such as Sars’. ‘Citrodol-based spray can help protect against COVID-19, says MoD lab’. *****

Information from another part of the word, Indonesia, states:  ‘The effectiveness of eucalyptus oil in treating COVID-19 still needs further investigation. So far research shows that Eucalyptus, a plant that is a raw material for eucalyptus oil, is indeed effective in killing the coronavirus. However, the study did not involve the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, Sars-CoV-2, but another type of coronavirus. Thus, Eucalyptus cannot be called a COVID-19 drug’. ******

Studies of our sense of smell explain that it is the most sensitive and the quickest of all our senses in transferring stimulus perceived outside the body to the brain. Studies of the function of the brain tell us that the part of the brain that is known as a conscious, thinking function has developed from what originally was known as the sense of smell.*

In COVID-19, some patients lose their sense of smell.

One of the ways to prevent the disease is social distancing. From studies about the sense of smell, we know that we perceive a lot of smells either consciously or unconsciously. Although we do not always clearly or consciously note all the information that we perceive via the sense of smell, it is an essential part of our lives. To lose the ability to smell is a kind of disability.

In normal health circumstances, our lives are based on obtaining conscious or subconscious stimulation via the sense of smell. In crowds, surrounded by people, this type of information is available all the time and feeds our existence, whether from someone we know or a perfect stranger. The rhythm of life in crowds feeds us continuously with cocktails of crowd scents, sounds of voices, exchanges of body electro-magnetism and temperature. We take it all for granted and do not think about it. Subconsciously, we seek on a regular basis to be present in crowds. We seek places pulsing with life. It is our senses and manners that determine the distances from other people. With the practice of social distancing today, this is all seriously disturbed. It is in all of our interests to get over the virus, and it is not only because of the prospect of getting ill or of a damaged economy.

In my opinion, essential oils can be helpful in many ways to additionally arm oneself against airborne particles that come with COVID-19. For those who do not suffer with allergies or asthma that can be triggered by essential oils, having a bottle of the essential oil of lavender, eucalyptus or lemongrass, for instance, and smelling it when exposed to possible airborne COVID-19 particles may be an additional help and will not cause harm when moderately done.

Personally, I am going through these times by consuming hot drinks,

A woman drinking tea.

believing and knowing that hot drinks around 58C–60C (a comfortable temperature for an adult) will destroy the virus or make it difficult for the virus to settle should it somehow get into my mouth.

A woman smelling an essential oil.

I also smell essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender and lemongrass expecting them to stop the airborne virus particles that could get to me via my nose when inhaling, as well as spraying surgical spirit if anyone around me coughs.

Thus, my answer to the question which is the title of this article is: yes, aromatherapy essential oils should be used as an additional preventative measure against COVID-19 by those who can do so (those who have no allergies or who suffer from asthma that may be triggered by essential oils).


Poynter.org 20.05.2020 Indonesia, M

*‘Pachnąca Apteka’ Tajemnica Aromaterapii, Władysław Brud, Iwona Konopacka

** ‘(mcgill.ca/oss/ office for science and society ‘Essential Knowledge About Essential Oils and Covid-19.)

***(parade.com 9/11, Aug 14 by Jenifer Larson).

**** The History of Aromatherapy)

*****(The Guardian, Dan Sabbagh, Defence and Security editor, Wed., 26 Aug 2020.)

******(Misleading, Poynter.org 20.05.2020 Indonesia)

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